THE SIGHTS WE HAVE VISITED ARE EXTRAORDINARY…NO WONDER WE ARE SURROUNDED BY TOURISTS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. STARTING OUT, WE PULLED OUR TRAILER ON SOME OF OUR FAVORITE SECTIONS OF ROUTE 66. STOPPING IN AMBOY WE CHATTED WITH THE SHERIFF FARRELL HASTINGS.
Headed to Flagstaff we stopped in Seligman on Route 66 and dropped in to see Angel Delgadillo, the barber who took up the preservation of Route 66 as his cause. Angel is known as the heart of the Mother Road, and in his 90s, he still loves to give a shave to all the world travelers who stop in to wish him well.
FOR A FUN NIGHT IN FLAGSTAFF WE HAD DINNER AT BLACK BART’S WITH LONG-TIME FRIENDS JOANIE & BARRY. IT IS A FUNKY STEAKHOUSE WHERE THE WAITSTAFF ENTERTAINS ON STAGE.
FIRST STOP THE NAVAJO ANTELOPE CANYON TOUR OFFICE. WE SIGN UP AND ARE LOADED INTO A TRUCK. 20 MINUTES THROUGH TOWN AND URBAN AREAS, THEN UP A WASH TO THE CANYON’S END AT THE CAVE. YOU CANNOT GO WITHOUT THE NAVAJO GUIDE. I RESISTED ADDING 1000 PICTURES THAT ALAN TOOK, BUT YOU’LL GET THE IDEA. THIS IS A TREK YOU WILL NEVER FORGET.
AH, LOVELY LAKE POWELL SUFFERING FROM LACK OF WATER. WATERWAYS ARE NOW MEADOWS AND EXPOSED ROCK. BUT THE BEAUTY IS NOT DIMINISHED. THE WATER SPARKLES UNDER A BIG SKY DOTTED WITH WHITE PUFFY CLOUDS. HOUSEBOATS AND SKI BOATS ARE PLENTIFUL. THE LAKE SCENE FROM THE CAMPGROUND AT WAHWEAP IS AWESOME AND CAMPERS GET POOL PRIVILEGES AT THE HOTEL.
MONUMENT VALLEY: WHERE THE EARTH MEETS THE SKY!
OMG! MONUMENT VALLEY IS MYSTICAL AND SERENE. THE NAVAJO CULTURE SEEMS TO ENVELOP YOU AS YOU DRIVE THROUGH THE RESERVATION. WE STAYED AT GOULDINGS RV PARK, JUST A FEW MILES FROM THE RESERVATION. AFTER YOUR VISIT FOR YEARS TO COME YOU WILL RECOGNIZE THE SCENERY IN MOVIES AND SAY “I WAS THERE.”
THE LONELY COWBOY IN THE PICTURES ABOVE IS OUR 12 YEAR OLD GRANDSON.
CANYONLANDS AND ARCHES NATIONAL PARKS
These parks had me seeing red! The colors are dynamic, the rock formations are beautiful and the red dirt doesn’t look like dirt. Leisurely drives and loops take you to a myriad of geologic wonders. Hike til you drop or just take a stroll – the choice is yours. Bring food for a picnic, tote binoculars for bird sightings, and, of course, a camera to capture those moments. Summer is dry and hot and crowded but usually it is when you can take the kids. They should pick up a national park passport at the first visitor center or ranger station visited and get it stamped at each park after that. The rubber stamps are unique to those parks and will serve as a lasting keepsake.
MOAB, the gateway city to many national parks and an exciting town in itself. A memorable evening: cowboy dinner on shore, then board boat and enjoy an early evening narrated cruise on the Colorado. Then, under a full moon, the music comes alive and a light show on the looming gorge entertains us for a spiritual experience.
HOLE IN THE ROCK
Another of America’s oddities along with the Winchester House, Nitwit Ridge and Salvation Mountain. Our tour inside this home carved out of a huge rock in Utah’s Canyonlands Country revealed the story of Albert and Gladys Christensen and how they excavated 50,000 cubic feet of sandstone from the rock and there lived for years.
DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT – “A modern Jurassic Park” this is the only place on Earth to see and touch dinosaur bones 149 million years in the making. It is a science lesson for young and old alike. After perusing the exhibits and watching the movie at the visitor center, you are shuttled up to the quarry to view the “wall of bones.”.
JACKSON HOLE AND THE GRAND TETONS.
Swimming in Jackson Lake is a cool experience. The clear water is refreshing with the snow covered Tetons as a backdrop.
Although it was July and the park was overloaded with visitors, we easily found a campsite, one of the best on our trip.
The Tetons are Grand and Yellowstone is too.. So much to see and do. Lush meadows, raging rivers, placid lakes, tons of wildlife (and tourists), waterfalls plus all the geologic wonders. It is a hands-on park that deserves a visit of several days.
But in an instant, clouds gather, wind picks up and before we know it we are whisked back onto the boat to head across the lake to shore. It was rather scary with ocean-like waves bouncing us around like The Perfect Storm (well, sort of).
On to see more sights, like a real down home rodeo in Butte Montana:
And after a treacherous hike a mile UP a mountain in 105 degree heat, a tour of the cool Lewis & Clark Caverns. It is a lovely cave with flowstone, dripstone, seepstone and an oddball formation called chert nodules. Thankfully the cave was cool and the 600 steps we had to negotiate were mostly downhill..
AMERICA’S GEM: GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Tour this extraordinarily dynamic park in a variety of ways: bike, hike, retro motorcoach (below), shuttle, private car. From the vast lakes lined with osprey nests and perched bald eagles, to the Road to the Sun where you will see the weeping rock, towering waterfalls, glaciers and wildlife.
This area was inhabited by the Blackfeet and explored by Lewis & Clark in 1806. Under President Taft it became a national park in 1910.
Here ancient trees shelter wildlife surrounded by rugged glacier-spotted peaks and subalpine meadows. I was told that 12 FEET of rain can fall iin a year. From our lovely campsite next to a raging river, we drove up to Hurricane Ridge, took a ferry to Vancouver Island for a day in Victoria, and explored the Dungeness Recreation Area.
Just a short ferry ride from Port Angeles is the quant town of Victoria on Vancouver island. We loved having lunch in another country. Opted for patio dining at the Empress rather than high tea. Best crandberry-cucumber mojito ever!
MT. SAINT HELENS: What a blast.
The mountain’s west side does not tell the story. You need to drive the windy road to the east side of this famous volcano to see where it exploded. From the visitor center you can see Spirit Lake, the river of timbers that resemble tooth picks, and the lava dome. You can also view the natural recovery which has taken place since the 1980 eruption.
SEATTLE: The best and worst of a town. Dirty with scary people in places, artistic and modern in others! Below is world famous Pikes Market
A highlight was the amazing exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s work at the Exhibition Hall, Glasshouse and Garden in the shadow of the space needle. I am only using a few of Alan’s 1000 plus photos of this striking exhibit. On a ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island we look back at the City. On Bainbridge we visited the historical museum, book store and walked around town. Then we had lunch with fellow author: Leslie Bratspis. Her book “Good Fortune” has been out for a few years and rumor has it she is fast and furiously penning a new book. We were friends at Hollywood High School back in the 60s.
GOLD BEACH OREGON.
Not too far north of the California border, this lovely town is a tourist’s dream. Below we board a jet boat for an exciting trip UP the Rogue River. With our guide’s help we spotted 4 bears, river otters, osprey, bald eagles, beavers, deer, a harbor seal and a rattler. To keep the trip exciting the captain did some whirrley whirls and got us all wet! Along the river, we were delivered to the Singing Springs Resort in Aggnes for a buffet dinner, then back on the boat for our trip back down to the harbor.
Not even sure where this town is, but driving through we stopped at the Timber Museum. We noticed scads of tourists takiing pix along the way, especially of some trucks. Finally we asked what the fuss was all about and were told that this was the town that Twilight was based on. Well, I’m no Twilight fan, but we tooks photos for our granddaughters.
BACK INTO CALIFORNIA, OUR LONG AWAITED DESTINATION WAS REACHED: HAPPY CAMP! This logging town of 1100 residents is about 100 miles west of Yreka, 100 miles east of Eureka, and 14 miles south of the Oregon border. It straddles the Klamath River. Here we visited the ranch of my sister Casey and her husband George. Another sister, Karen, and brother Chris, also live on the ranch, so it was FAMILY TIME.
Below we negotiate the giant rapids of the Klamath with 5-year old Graham at the helm.Below is Chris’s deck where he entertains.
Spent alot of time around the pool. Beyond it lies the Chambers’ Garden where Casey would pick vegetables and everything for salads just before dinner was served. They grow their spices, grapes, flowers, corn, apples, and so on. Plums were ripe during our visit but unfortunately the corn was not yet ready. Matt surprised us each night with a desert he had prepared such as creme brulee and fresh blackberry ice cream.
PINNACLES NATIONAL PARK
Pinnacles National Monument was established in 1908 by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt but was recently changed to the status of National Park last year and signed into law by President Barack Obama and Congress this year. The west side entrance is steep and windy and not recommended for large vehicles including RVs. The east entrance (the east-west roads do not connect) is a round-about drive but delivers you to a land of surprising intrigue.
Bear Gulch CaveA pleasant hike from the end of the road takes you to Bear Gulch Cave. It had been closed prior to our visit because the bats were hibernating. The day we arrived they had left the cave and it was open for exploration. One bat was left behind! It is a talus cave with a small lake and dripping water.
this blog is under construction. Stay tuned for more.